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Nadira Berman

Secret Extracurriculars: I Can Put THAT on My College Applications?!

Nowadays, every teenager seems to have a schedule full of various activities, from sports to music to community service. Ever since freshman year (or maybe even before then), our parents, teachers, and friends have reminded us that these extracurricular pursuits “will look good on college applications.” If you worry that you will not have enough of these interests to fill in an application, continue reading to discover several activities you may not have thought of.

Family commitments (example: caring for an older relative)

Maybe you don’t have tons of time outside of school because you have to care for a grandparent or another important person in your life. Colleges understand that everyone comes from different circumstances. Some people have families where every member is healthy and self-sufficient, so they have the free time to, for example, play a sport. If this is not the case for your family, colleges won’t hold it against you. In fact, showing that you know how to take care of someone else will make you seem responsible, mature, and kind. Who wouldn’t want that kind of person on campus?

Part-time fast food job


While “Burger King employee” might not sound as impressive as “captain of the debate team,” colleges still want to hear about your job, no matter what it is. Just because you don’t aspire to flip burgers when you grow up, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t mention the experience in your application. Like caring for a grandparent, having a job shows that you are responsible. Also, working in customer service teaches you a lot about human beings and the world. It can give you a whole new perspective. At the very least, those who have worked these kinds of jobs have greater sympathy for the cashiers, waiters, and salespeople in their everyday lives.

Admissions officers really do like to read about students’ jobs. Check out Griffin Karpeck’s story, Four Stand-Out College Essays About Money.


Many students are hesitant about including babysitting in their applications because it might not seem like a “real” job in comparison with a position at a company or organization where employees receive actual paychecks. But if you have spent a substantial amount of time babysitting, it totally counts! Keeping children safe and happy is a difficult and admirable task. It’s a great life skill that will probably come in handy at some point.

Any hobby or passion

This story shows that you should fill your college application with your true passions. Whether it’s jewelry making or playing board games, you can find a way to include your hobby in your application as long as you show why it is meaningful to you and how it positively affects your community. Get others involved by starting a school club. Maybe you can sell your homemade jewelry and donate the profits. Or maybe you can bring your board game collection to a local senior center and play with older people in order to brighten their day. The possibilities are endless if you are passionate and energetic—and most of all, honest about your extracurriculars.

About Nadira Berman

As a Summer Marketing Intern, Nadira is excited to help high schoolers prepare for the SAT and ACT. As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, she is considering studying economics. In her free time, she reports for the school newspaper and styles photo shoots for the school's fashion magazine. Besides fashion and journalism, her passions include bagels, smoothies and Netflix.

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